Here is a list of my must-have top 30 kitchen essential tools that every serious home cook should invest in to get the most out of their cooking.
Whether you’re making a caesar salad or polenta it’s so important to be able to have all of the necessary tools to make great food. This does not mean you need to spend a fortune and buy the most expensive tools out there, but you do need certain things in order to make recipes. Just like anything, if you keep it clean and take care of everything, it will last you a lifetime.
Here is a list of my top 30 kitchen essentials (there are affiliate links below):
- Chef Knife: This is hands down the most important tool in your kitchen. This is what you will carve, chop, slice, and prepare most of your food with. Here is one my favorite chef knives – https://amzn.to/30s3p1C
- Knife Steel: How else are you going to keep your chef knife sharp? This will not create the necessary edge on your knife, but it will help to bring it back with a few cross strokes. This is a very inexpensive solid steel – https://amzn.to/3f8IOmQ
- Knife Sharpener: A few times a year you will need to recreate the edge on your knife because it will become dull over time, no matter the brand or cost of a knife. Here are my two recommendations – hand – https://amzn.to/2UqWB0n electric- https://amzn.to/2Yi5Fpt
- Cutting Board: I highly recommend getting a wood cutting board as it has antibacterial properties. If you take good care of it, it will literally last you a lifetime. Here’s the one I use – https://amzn.to/2YieNKG
- ½ Sheet Tray: Since most of you don’t have a big enough oven to for a full sheet tray, the ½ sheet tray is the next best option. This is a workhorse tool. You can place prep on it, make a cake on it, roast on it, rest on it, you name it. Here a favorite of mine – https://amzn.to/2UqQhWu
- Parchment Paper: I use parchment paper every day. It helps to keep things clean and will help brown up whatever you’re roasting in the oven. It can also double and triple as a funnel and piping bag. I buy it in bulk at – https://amzn.to/37ildNZ
- Large Pot: Whether you are making chicken stock or wedding soup, you will always need a large pot to make these many serving recipes. I love this one – https://amzn.to/3e0OpM9
- Saucepot: Maybe you are just reheating some chicken tinga, or making a Pomodoro sauce, and this is the ½ gallon pot that will help you do it. This is one of my favorites – https://amzn.to/2YnbXE4
- Sauté Pan: This is what you do to saute or pan sear. They come in sizes of 8”, 10”, 12”, 14”, or even 16”. I highly recommend only using cast iron or stainless steel as they are safe metals to cook in after being heated. This is what I always use – https://amzn.to/3h5loR8
- Microplane: This is used to zest citrus fruit, finely grated cheese, and spices, or to finely mince garlic or onions. I use this one all the time – https://amzn.to/3cMYURH
- Grater: You can make hash browns, grate cheese, shred vegetables, you name it! Be careful because these 4-sided graters are sharp. This is the one I use – https://amzn.to/2Ymv69l
- Strainer: When rinsing vegetables or draining pasta you will need something to catch your food while the water drains through, so here’s your answer. I recommend having a few different sizes and here is what I have – https://amzn.to/2BJ1OtI
- Peeler: Ever since culinary school I have adapted to use the swiss style peeler which has the handle on top. Not only will it peel vegetables but it will shave them thin for serving as well. You can also shave hard cheese, which I do often. I have these 3 – https://amzn.to/37nPUS0
- Tongs: In the restaurant industry 1 hand becomes a towel to pick up hot pans and the other turns into tongs to cook with. Whether grilling or sautéing, you need good tongs and here is what I use – https://amzn.to/30pRt08
- Whisk: I recommend buying a metal whisk so that you can whisk even the thickest sauces with ease. I love this whisk – https://amzn.to/2Uss3uS
- Wooden Spoon: If you’re Italian then you already have 50 of these. It could be making a spaghetti sauce or stirring a risotto, you need at least one. These are the ones I have – https://amzn.to/30rSvbW
- Rubber Spatula: Save some money and food by making sure you get every last morsel out of the pan, out of the bowl, or off the sheet tray with a rubber spatula. A high-temperature one is a way to go so you can stir hot things like chocolate sauce. I’ve been using these for 25 years – https://amzn.to/2Al876n
- Food Processor: Finely mince, puree, make a vinaigrette or even make pizza dough, this is an absolute must-have in your kitchen. This is the one in my kitchen – https://amzn.to/2zjjw6p
- Spoons: It doesn’t matter what size or what kind of metal it is; this is what you use to taste things with, stir or plate up food as your poor sauce on it. These are great – https://amzn.to/3hbyi03
- Mixing Bowls: I’m a big fan of mixing bowls because sometimes when you have a metal whisk and whisk in a metal bowl you can get that metallic-like taste. These are microwave safe and I use them every day – https://amzn.to/3f91SBz
- Serrated Knife: If you’re a bread recipe maker then this is a necessity. It’s also great for slicing pies with. I have this one – https://amzn.to/2UsoXHv
- Paring Knife: Hone those knife skills by peeling or making beautiful shapes out of vegetables with a really solid paring knife. I use this one often – https://amzn.to/3h6ch2N
- Chinois: Some sauces need a very fine strain, so the chinois is what’s needed to achieve this. No more need for cheesecloth when you have this – https://amzn.to/3cHIF8s
- Food Mill: I absolutely love food mills for pureeing things like tomatoes, and I especially love it to make mashed potatoes or root vegetable purees. Seriously, I love this one – https://amzn.to/3hbyTyP
- Stand Mixer: Making bread doughs, whipped cream, or anything in between, a stand mixer will last you a lifetime. Here’s mine – https://amzn.to/2YiiEY5
- Blender: We love making smoothies, but I also like making sauces, marinades, and vinaigrettes and a strong blender with a lot of torque is a necessity. LOVE this – https://amzn.to/2UtNVWX
- Pastry Brush: Rubbing your steak down with oil before grilling or saucing up your smoked pork shoulder, you will absolutely need some pastry brushes. I have these – https://amzn.to/2YhHyHn
- Thermometer: When you start to perfect your internal steak temperatures or knowing when the bread is done, a good to the second thermometer is a must-have. There is none better than this one – https://amzn.to/2Ai0xcI
- Rolling Pin: Whether making pasta or even scones, you will need a solid rolling pin to get the job done. If you keep this clean, you’ll be sure to pass this one down to your grandkids – https://amzn.to/2UqZ6Qj
- Storage Containers: These different sizes same lid, BPA containers are money! Great for storing prep or leftover food. I have and use these every day – https://amzn.to/30x6mxX
Chef Notes + Tips
Get comfortable using all of these tools and perfect the art of cooking. Use them often and keep them clean and my promise to you is that they will last a lifetime.
Depending on the brand, the costs will vary on each of these.
The most expensive doesn’t always mean the best.
Use in These Recipes